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Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour will make his first New Hampshire appearance later this week, checking off the last of the must-stop early presidential primary states as he creeps closer to a White House run.
The Southern Republican opens his Granite State tour Wednesday night at a private reception in Bow. He has a series of events scheduled for Thursday, including a meet-and-greet at a Hooksett gun shop and a meeting with the Greater Manchester Federation of Republican Women.
“This is the last of the early primary states, but not because it’s any less important,” said Mike Dennehy, who is coordinating Barbour’s campaign activities in New Hampshire and South Carolina.
Indeed, Barbour this year has already visited Iowa, South Carolina, Nevada and Florida. The former chairman of the Republican National Committee and Republican Governors Association is expected to announce his presidential intentions by the end of the month.
Dennehy noted that New Hampshire will be critical in the contest, but he offered some insight into the expectations game.
“The media understands the situation full well — that Mitt Romney is the overwhelming frontrunner, that candidates like Haley Barbour are starting from scratch,” he said. “All you can do is work your tail off and compete. Frontrunners have been toppled here. It certainly can be done, but it will be a challenge.”